KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Before Thursday’s game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, the two teams utilized their platforms to call for social justice reform.
During the National Anthem, the Chiefs came together on the sidelines, with only defensive end Alex Okafor taking a knee.
The Houston Texans wanted to take the anthem out of the equation as part of their statement and remained in the locker room.
When they did take the field, the Texans and the Chiefs came together at midfield and locked arms in a show of solidarity. That moment was met by some boos from the stands.
Players from both teams talked after the game about that moment, and the displeasure voiced by some of the fans.
“We made a team decision. That’s the decision that we made as a team. We’re all in this thing together and at the end of the day, we’re brothers, part of a brotherhood. We’ve had great conversations. We’ve done a lot of great things and that’s the decision that we made as a team. The moment of unity I personally thought was good. I mean there’s... the booing was unfortunate during that moment. Don’t fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved with that besides two teams coming together to show unity.”JJ Watt, Houston Texans
“It was really just making the decision that we’re done with empty gestures. It wasn’t about anthem, protest or anything you know. We are very intentional. We are very specific of what we are trying to focus on this year when it comes to social justice and that’s trying to fight for true justice for Black and Brown people being murdered by police, and they’re unarmed and that’s by calling for the Senate to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to the Senate floor for vote, right. And today, going out for either anthem, you know, to us would have been a distraction and again, we just wanted to make a decision as a team and we decided it would probably be best if we all stayed in, right. And that’s the decision we made and we’re just going to go out there and play.”Michael Thomas, Houstan Texans
“We all want to play football but we did want to have the moment of solitude for the families that were affected, for people that continue to be affected by police brutality and injustice in the legal system.”Justin Reid, Houston Texans
“As a staff, as us in Kansas City, we came and we told everybody that we had the support from everybody to do exactly what you felt was the right thing to do, whether you wanted to kneel for the anthem, stay in the locker room and that was communicated with the Houston Texans and we fully respect what the Houston Texans did and that’s why when it came out for the moment of silence, we all locked arms.”Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
“Obviously us a team, we tried our best to stick with our original plan and display unity and we tried our best to give the Texans their respect by them staying in the locker room making their own decision. But us coming together on the 50-yard line and locking arms, I think that sends a great message of unity and togetherness.”Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City Chiefs